Size appears to matter when it comes to attracting a potential mate, findings of a new study published in the journal Science Advances have revealed.
Study researcher Ikki Matsuda, from Chubu University in Japan and colleagues found that having a big nose offers advantage to male proboscis monkeys in Malaysia. Males with the biggest noses in this species tend to have the most number of females in their harems
Researchers also looked at the correlation between facial features, body mass, and testicular volume and found that an enlarged nose affected the vocalization of the male proboscis monkeys, which helps females to seek out their mating calls.
Evidence likewise suggests that males with noses that go over and even below their mouths in some cases tend to be the most dominant in their group and have larger testes.
"This suggests that nose enlargement is a reliable predictor of social dominance and high sperm count," Matsuda said.
The large nose of male proboscis monkeys makes them more attractive to the females of the species, but different animals appear to have varying preferences when it comes to choosing a potential mate. Here are some traits that play a role in animal courtship and mating.
Flamingos with more colorful feathers tend to be more attractive. In a 2010 study, researchers studied the seasonal variation of the bird's plumage with relations to courtship activity. They found that the feathers of flamingos were more colorful during times when the birds were displaying for mates. These faded during the rest of the year, and the fading occurs shortly after the birds began to breed.
What is more interesting about the study is that researchers found that the birds apply "makeup" so they look more attractive to potential mates during breeding season. The birds daub oil produced by their glands near the tail onto their feathers. Researchers suspect that one of the reasons the birds do this is for coloration.
Beavers produce a fluid known as castoreum that attracts potential mates. Beavers do not see or hear very well, but they have a great sense of smell. Castoreum also carries information about the animal's health and allows beavers to distinguish family members from outsiders.
Size also matters for some reptiles. For saddleback tortoises in the Galapagos, competition for cactus trees and mates involves neck-stretching competitions and sometimes biting. Longer-necked tortoises tend to come out victorious.